Wela means hot. You'll hear both wela (well-a) or wela (vel-a) as correct pronunciations, depending on the sound it follows. Wela means hot, burned, heat, temperature, but can also mean “lust” or “passion” or “feeling lust.” Wela wela is “doubly hot.”
Makau means fishhook, something we see everyday in Hawaiʻi, even if you don't go near the water. The beautiful fishhooks carved form bone and used as a decoration around the necks of so many men and women in Hawaiʻi today are correctly called makau.
Hema means left or left side. When you watch a marching group pass by, you will often hear, “hema, hema, hema, ʻākau hema,” or “left, left, left, right, left.” It also means “south,” as in Kona hema – south Kona.
Hale is a word we all use in Hawaiʻi whether we speak Hawaiian or not. And hale, meaning house or building, is our Hawaiian Word of the Day. There are many kinds of hale from the hale ʻaina, or restaurant, to the hale pule, or church.
Poko liko is another term given to an ethnic group that has settled in Hawaiʻi. Poko liko is the Hawaiian transliteration of the English words Puerto Rico or Puerto Rican. And there are many poko liko in Hawaiʻi nei.
Laiki is how we say rice in Hawaiian. And since we who live in the Islands eat so much of it, you should know how to say it in Hawaiian. Like so many of our newer Hawaiian words, it was borrowed from the English language.
We so often see kuʻuipo on Hawaiian jewelry that we tend to overlook another beautiful Hawaiian word for sweetheart. It is huapala. Literally, it means “ripe fruit,” a fruit that is ready for picking, and that's how Hawaiians call their sweetheart.
Pekelala is another Hawaiian word borrowed from English, and it means federal. If you listen to the news of the day discussed in Hawaiian, you often hear pekelala, because so much of what is in the news relates to the U.S. federal government.
Pō means: night, darkness, obscurity, the realm of the gods. The Hawaiian day begins at nightfall, so instead of using the word for the days of the week, as is done in English, we use pō for nights, and then modify it to make the nights of the week. For example pō akihi or pō alua.
Koʻolau means windward. A very appropriate name for a mountain range that runs up the windward side of the island of Oʻahu. It can be used as an adjective too, to describe something that is on the windward side.
One of the best known Hawaiian words is hula, meaning to dance. Hula is a very generic term for dance. There are many specific types of hula. Don't confuse hula with hulahula, the word you learned for ballroom dancing, and don't say, "hula dancing" – that's redundant.
Another beautiful Hawaiian name that is so often mispronounced is Kalanianaʻole and it means “the chief without measure.” It is a name given to so many prominent landmarks and the one that seems to give a lot of trouble to people in the broadcast media.
Iulai is the Hawaiian name for the month of July, the seventh month of the modern calendar. Yes, Iulai is a borrowed word from English. In fact, all of the names of the months of the calendar we now use are borrowed. Since the Hawaiian calendar of months did not coincide with that of the Europeans.